Life is only painted lines
And there is no paint.
OK, this may take a while to flesh out…
Imagine a large parking lot with the spaces painted in the usual manner. Then on a day when nobody else is parked, do you drive from one end the other making sure not to cross any lines? Or to you drive directly from one side to the other by ignoring all the painted lines?
First off, this is just a metaphor for something else I am driving at so in a sense, what one might actually do is irrelevant. But to finish the thought, I assume most of us would drive across since the whole point of the painted spaces is to provide order when cars are everywhere. It is practical to observe the lines when other cars are around and practical to ignore the lines when the lot is empty.
And as I type the above my pragmatic solution seems to also point to my bigger point. The point of this blog...how should you live on this earth in your remaining days?
Pragmatic, yes, but I propose that for most, if not all, of our conscious life the lines we are following societal lines painted for pragmatic purpose. BUT the lines are there only because we believe in them so in fact there is no metaphorical paint in the metaphorical painted lines. The upshot is we all, everyone, is mentally free and unconstrained. Not only are the chains off...there never were any chains at all.
(here it comes)...BUT, we live in a physical world with other people so our freedom of action is severely restrained by other people, the physics of existence and maybe even something one could call Karma.
An example of belief’s bullying power… 1. Money: Look at paper money, why do people value one more than the other? They are the same size with just a different number of one versus another. Why does one get you more stuff than another? It is the same as the painted lines on a parking lot. Everybody voluntarily agrees the $20 bill will get you more that a $1 bill. And even it was Gold (for those gold standard blockheads), why should a light box of useless metal be exchanged for less than a heavy box?
It is only our beliefs that make any sort of money valuable and that allows this fantasy of commerce. If a counterfeit bill pass through your hand and gets in circulation, what is the harm? If it is never caught then nobody loses. And if you bring up inflation...where the folly of needing wheelbarrows of cash to pay for a loaf of bread, well that is just a lack of faith.
From here I want to move to slightly different territory. But the direction of my earlier proposal led to the notion that the only reason so much of living causes stress and strain is because we internalize the structures of the society around us and treat them with an authority they don’t deserve. When someone pisses you off on the highway or in a store, we follow the line and get angry.
Advertising is built on showing us the lines and making us believe we should follow them.
I don’t want to rebel, or tear down, or rage against the system. No, I want to simply take a breath and recognize there never were any rules or lines to rage against.
To reassure anybody, I am basing this cornerstone of my life on a phrase from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai: Hey, hey, hey, hey-now. Don't be mean; we don't have to be mean, ‘cuause, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
So my first step is much like the Hippocratic oath of “First do no harm”, even though the Internet tells me that is not an accurate translation. But regardless, it works well as a basis for how to finish out your life. I could go into how I arrived at this as my foundations, but just because I know that answer to something doesn’t mean I know the precise question. Maybe I’ll get to that at a later date.
But the gist is, when all is said in done in this world, you don't have to be mean.